BBC World Service – The Real Story, China’s Big Social Experiment

In 2014, the Chinese government issued a document aimed at increasing the amount of ‘trust’ in society. Today this emerging system is known as China’s social credit system – like a credit score but tracking more than financial transactions. China’s central government wants to have the system in place across China by 2020, using a range of information — including shopping habits, driving fines and even what’s written on social media — to rate and rank individuals. People with poor scores could find themselves unable to get bank loans or buy plane tickets. Advocates claim that a system is necessary in a country where few people have credit ratings. But detractors see it as a kind of dystopic super-surveillance. Celia Hatton and a panel of expert guests weighs up the costs and benefits of social credit.

(Photo: A Chinese woman walks along the street holding a broom and dustpan. Credit: Getty Images)


Rana Mitter – Professor of Chinese History, Oxford University

Samantha Hoffman – Visiting Fellow at Mercator Institute for China Studies

Cindy Yu – Writer at the British magazine, The Spectator

Duncan Clark – Chairman of BDA China, a technology consultancy in Beijing

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